Politicians must take responsibility for their greed, wastage and negligence.

20 Jan



If you go to the website #notmydebt you’ll find fifteen pages of stories written by people who’ve received demands from Centrelink to repay debts the department has falsely raised against them. It’s a harrowing read.

Depending on which explanation you prefer, the aggressive efforts to extract monies from people who do not owe them has been caused by faults in the department’s new automatic compliance system; a malevolent attack by the LNP government on welfare recipients, or a combination of both.

Centrelink has advised some punters that their best course of action is to begin repaying the alleged debt while the review process is underway, that is, before it has been established that they actually owe anything. This places punters in a Kafkaesque bind: repaying a debt is an acknowledgement that you accept its validity. Punters are also threatened that if they don’t agree to a repayment scheme, their alleged debt will be referred to debt collectors, and their credit rating affected.

Regardless of acknowledged systemic faults, and an own-motion investigation launched by the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s Office,  the robo-debt collection scheme is set to widen its net to include pensioners and disabled people in the coming months.

The latest information from Centrelink whistleblowers (who have, by the way, been threatened with prosecution and imprisonment by their overlords, as have welfare recipients accused of fraudulently obtaining benefits) indicates that there are indeed serious faults in the system AND that Centrelink authorities have ordered officers to proceed regardless of these faults. Indeed, officers have been instructed to refrain from acknowledging any errors they discover unless the citizen in their sights spots the error first, causing a crisis of conscience for some Centrelink employees who are obliged to refrain from identifying systems errors to distraught punters.

How any of this can be consistent with legal process is beyond me: it’s beginning to sound very much like the Turnbull government illegally obtaining money from citizens by deception.

Even Tasmanian Senator Eric Abetz has expressed his disapproval of Centrelink’s methods after a member of his extended family received a debt notice.

At the same time, a report from the Australian National Audit Office into the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s payments for the management of contracts for security and welfare services on Manus Island and Nauru reveals:

…$2.3 billion in payments made between September 2012 and April 2016, which it stated were not authorised or recorded correctly.

“$1.1 billion was approved by DIBP officers who did not have the required authorisation and for the remaining $1.1 billion there was no departmental record of who authorised the payments,” it stated.

The report further stated that contract variations totalling more than $1 billion were made without a documented assessment of value for money. (emphasis mine)

Is there any venture on the planet in which $2.3 billion dollars is spent without proper authorisation and record of authorisation, other than the Australian DIBP? Why is Immigration Minister Peter Dutton still in the portfolio, given that his department has apparently gone rogue?

Add to this the ongoing politicians’ expenses scandals exposing levels of rort (travel expenses being the least of it, it’s the office expenses we ought to be worried about) that if politicians themselves hadn’t written the rules would be criminal, and you have a grim picture of rampant abuse of public money, with minimum accountability.

You also have an exceedingly grim picture of the powerful and privileged attacking the most vulnerable. There is as well the abhorrent spectacle of greedy politicians refusing to take responsibility for their own indulgence and wastage, and instead accusing those least able to defend themselves of fraudulent behaviour.

Prime Minister Turnbull has promised action on politicians “entitlements.” Perhaps if it is made more difficult for MPs to get their entire upper bodies into the trough and wallow, politics will in time become less attractive to those amongst us with the least integrity. One can only hope.

News just in: Get Up has set up a website “Fraudstop” that advises people affected by Centrelink’s false debt claims of their options. 





13 Responses to “Politicians must take responsibility for their greed, wastage and negligence.”

  1. kristapet January 20, 2017 at 6:14 am #

    Thank you very much for keeping us up-to-date with this frightening & vexatious issue this current government has engineered.This government has gone rogue – my tangent worry is also, about the fact, that Mr Hunt has been made the new Minister for health –
    I have just been diagnosed with Diabetes 2, and Pernicious Anaemia on top Severe Sleep Apnea, and other health issues, all of which, need perpetual monitoring – If Hunt (spelt with other letters of the alphabet that Rhyme with his name) treats this ministerial appointment like he did his previous portfolios, then, I fear strongly, the demise of our Australian style, Medicare system, and the likelihood of it being replaced by An American Style structure which apparently he is fond of (maiden speech) What hope has a 67 year old pensioner like me, and others on the bottom rung, in this neo-social class, hierarchy? – How many of us will be organizing our funerals prematurely, because we won’t be able to afford the rent, food, utilities, or, the cost of medical services for our twilight years? I wish the whole cabinet, both, the Federal, and State Liberal and Country Party, and useless Others and, as well as, One Abomination gone!
    Viva the people’s and citizenry revolution make it so!
    Our only hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson January 20, 2017 at 12:35 pm #

      I’m sorry to hear about your health issues, Kristapet.
      I’m hoping this government will bring itself undone – it’s totally useless, destructive and vicious. Surely voters can see where this is going

      Liked by 1 person

      • kristapet January 21, 2017 at 9:03 am #

        I agree totally with you – and thank you, Secrets will out, about these cowboys, I hope, and open people’s eyes – more likely when they are personally affected
        I am sure the time is coming for them (LNP) to be bitten very hard on their collective bottoms

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Noely (@YaThinkN) January 20, 2017 at 7:26 am #

    If a business acted like Centrelink it would be illegal. In fact, from the beginning this has sounded like a phishing exercise to me, which is illegal.

    Besides the obvious threats and my disgust at the heavy handed tactics being used on vulnerable people, what also pisses me off is that so many have actually paid the smaller amounts as they are working and do not have time to actually deal with Centrelink, hell, who is going to jeaopardise their job asking for time off to visit a Centrelink office or ask the boss to tie up the phone line during work hours for ages trying to get through to them?

    This Government seems to go from one stuff up to the next, harming many along the way, wasting phenomenal amounts of money as they go. It really is getting ridiculous.

    I’m at the stage where the stupid urban myth of “Liberals are better with the Economy” being raised at a BBQ makes me want to launch violently at the moron who states that line 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Macam January 20, 2017 at 9:22 am #

    Thanks Jennifer, this class war is getting ugly fast !
    Corporatised theft and extinction economics is what happens when an ill-informed and under-educated public vote millionaires into power!!
    Vested interest’s rule !

    Liked by 1 person

  4. doug quixote January 20, 2017 at 12:40 pm #

    Excellent Jennifer. BTW, what happened to the “like” facility? Many may want to “like” without needing to comment.

    OT, Bambi Baird has been shot like a deer in the spotlight – or was it a live rabbit lure?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson January 20, 2017 at 5:49 pm #

      Ha ha I am so glad to see Baird go, don’t let the door hit him in the arse etc.
      I don’t know what happened to like. Will check.


    • Jennifer Wilson January 20, 2017 at 5:54 pm #

      Like shows up on my mine, DQ. Took a while to load.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. townsvilleblog January 21, 2017 at 10:56 am #

    Reblogged this on Townsville Blog. and commented:
    The tories never take responsibility for their actions, they have had a full term and into their second and still blaming the ALP for their incompetence!

    Liked by 1 person


  1. Why I Marched | myzania - January 23, 2017

    […] need to come together. As Jennifer Wilson of No Place for Sheep shows here, there are plenty of things that need change within Australia as well as outside. The activist […]


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